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Indian Grave Ridge - Luray, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
8.6 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

4.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,550 ft
George Washington National Forest
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At VA684/S Page Valley Rd. and the Shenandoah River proceed along VA684 7.5 miles. VA684 turns into gravel/dirt road named Page Valley Road.  About 0.5 miles after it becomes dirt veer left uphill onto VA717 (VA684 veers right into a dead end holler by the river), Continue 3.0 miles on VA717 where the first parking area is on your left (sign on tree 'Indian Grave Trail'). 1.3 miles further along is the second parking area which is a boat ramp. The third parking area is found 0.8 miles further along VA717, left on 236 0.2 miles, and on the right just before the gate. 38.79389, -78.38486

This hike has great views from the valley as it winds alongside the Shenandoah River, and wonderful views from the ridge line as well. Also, as as a section of this loop hike utilizes dirt road VA717 there are three parking options. We prefer to use the first so we get the flatter road section out of the way. The second parking spot is a public launch area for the Shenandoah River, and the third is at the end of VA236 right before entering the GWNF and beginning the uphill portion of the hike.

If you parked at the first area walk 30 yards back to the road and turn left along dirt road VA717. In 0.25 miles the river will come in on your right, and in another 0.75 miles you will pass the second parking area and public river access point. There are spectacular river and valley views for the next 0.8 miles before you turn left onto gravel road VA236.

Climb VA236 for 0.2 miles before arriving at the third parking, option and entrance to the GWNF. Enter the forest on the orange blazed old logging road and in 0.4 miles pass a small unmarked trail (not marked on the map) that splinters off to the left. Continue on the orange blazed logging trail uphill for another 1.0 miles arriving at the junction of the Toliver Trail that turns left uphill.

At this junction the old logging trail continues straight, you want to turn left uphill through the closed gate on the orange blazed Toliver Trail. The trail becomes steeper and in 0.6 miles a connecter trail comes in from the right. Continue straight uphill on the now white blazed trail as it wind back to the left before arriving at the ridge line and intersection of the Massanutten Trail in another 0.2 miles.

Veer left uphill in 50 yards staying on the orange blazed Massanutten trail as the Milford Gap Trail descends to your right.

Continue along the ridge and in 1.3 miles the trail splits. Stay left on the orange blazed trail along the top of the ridge and in another 0.1 miles arrive at the intersection of the purple blazed Indian Grave Ridge Trail that descends to your left.

Turn left downhill on the purple blazed Indian Grave Ridge Trail as it steeply descends the mountain. In 2.3 miles the trail makes a hard left and a old logging road comes in from the right. Stay left on the purple blazed trail as it now gently descends Indian Grave Ridge before arriving back at the first parking area in another 0.7 miles.

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Hiker Reviews For The Indian Grave Ridge Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Indian Grave Ridge hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 01, 2017
I enjoyed the several views very much. I was impressed how good they were considering the leafy trees. The views would be even more impressive with fewer leaves in the off season. I liked this hike overall. The descent from the ridge was quite steep at the start and a little annoying. Was glad I had one trekking pole -- I could have used two. I was confused a couple times on navigation and was glad to have the map and description, and also the trail route loaded into my GPS device.

No signs of others, not even boot prints, except for horse hoofprints along most of the trails. I agree with others that this is a solitary hike. Chiggers: I haven't been bothered by them in years of hiking in these parts but discovered about 50 chigger bites at home. No big deal but annoying. I don't know where they came from as the trail was relatively wide and I wasn't in brush or grass area, except where I parked my car. I would use insect repellent on this hike, especially around my ankles, next time.

Parking: For parking area 1, to get into the main part of the first parking area you need a high-clearance vehicle due to deep potholes. There is a little space for one low-clearance vehicle to the right before the main area, right as you turn off the road, in which I parked. The second parking area, after I hiked past it, seems the most convenient to me. The third parking area is a little indefinite but would work too. Use caution and watch out for vehicles while hiking the part along the road. There were not many vehicles.

I often use Google Maps to navigate from my home to hike parking areas by inputting the coordinates. I tried Waze this time, which took me to a dead end on the other side of the mountain. Went back to Google Maps which worked fine.

By: Ash Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 23, 2017
I parked at the first parking area and followed the route as prescribed. I would rate this 3.5 if I could. It's a tale of two halves. The first half is gravel road and fire road. This part of of Luray is so pretty that even the road walk is nice. However, it's not as nice as the back half. So nice and nicer for me. Once off of the roads the trail had a lot to offer as its characteristics change often. It's a pleasant walk in the forest. The views, while difficult to capture in a photograph due to the trees, are beautiful. If I do this again I think I will do an out and back on the second half.

By: old man walking Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 14, 2014
This hike has a little bit of everything, other than stream crossings.  It has a walk along the river, gentle sloping logging roads, steep rocky trails near the top, and views as you hike along the narrow ridge.  I"m sure it would have been spectacular earlier in the fall before the leaves fell.  The walk along the river was pleasant, and this time of year, canoeing related traffic was not a problem.  I saw a belted kingfisher.  I saw lots ob bear scat farther up the ridge but no bears.

After hiking up VA236 to the start of the "orange blazed" logging trail, I observed that the blazes were more of a yellow hue than orange.  They were distinctly different in color from the familiar orange blazes along the Massanutten Trail at the top of the ridge. 

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 07, 2014
Second time on this hike and I liked is just as much as the first time! The views from the ridge are not 100%, but the trails are definitely beautiful along the ridge and stream. It's also a great workout. I aimed for a completion time of 3:00 hours and made it back to my car in 2:50. Phew! I would like to return when there's snow on the ground - it would be so pretty.

By: RR Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 27, 2014
I have to say that overall this hike is one of my favorites I've been on in VA. You start off walking by the Shenandoah River and some open land (which is beautiful)! You then walk up with beautiful scenery and the top has decent views. Not the greatest views ever, but they are still beautiful. It was a very quiet hike, only ran into one other couple the entire trip. That made it even more enjoyable! I would highly recommend taking this hike!

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